The Heavenly Sanctuary
Bible Adventism
by James S. White

What is the Sanctuary?
The Typical Sanctuary Gives Way to the True
The Heavenly Sanctuary

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TEXT: Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that
certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision concerning
the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the
sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot?
And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days;
then shall the sanctuary be cleansed. Dan.8:13, 14.

WE have seen that the earth is not recognized in the sacred Scriptures as God's sanctuary, that the church is not his sanctuary, and that the land of Canaan is not the sanctuary.

The definition of the word is, "A holy place." -Walker. "A sacred place." - Webster. "A holy or sanctified place, a dwelling-place for the Most High." - Cruden.
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A dwelling-place for God. Ex.25:8. Neither the earth, nor any portion of it, has been such a place since sin found its way into Eden.

The word sanctuary is used in the Bible one hundred and forty-six times, and not in a single instance does it apply to the earth, the land of Canaan, or the church. In one hundred and thirty-seven times it refers to two things, and only two: First, the sanctuary which was the center of the Jewish system of worship; and, secondly, the sanctuary of which Christ is the minister in Heaven.

There are nine instances where the word sanctuary does not refer to the sanctuary of the Lord. In one text it is said that "Judah was his sanctuary." Ps.114:2. The Lord of hosts "shall be for a sanctuary." Isa.8:14. Moab had a sanctuary. Isa.16:12. God is a little sanctuary. Eze.11:16. The king of Tyre had sanctuaries. Eze.28:18. There were heathen sanctuaries. Dan.8:11; 11:31. The "king's chapel, " Amos 7:13, margin, sanctuary, was a rival sanctuary. See verse 9, where the sanctuaries, plural, of Israel are named. In these nine texts, the word sanctuary does not refer either to the earthly sanctuary or to the heavenly; but in all these instances it derives its name from the sanctuary of the Lord.

The sanctuary of the Bible is the habitation of God. It includes, first, the tabernacle pitched by man, which was the pattern of the true; and secondly, "the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man." The tabernacle erected by man, as a pattern of the true, embraced, first, the tabernacle of Moses, secondly, the temple of Solomon, and thirdly, the temple of Zerubbabel.

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The true tabernacle of God is the great original, of which Moses, Solomon, and Zerubbabel erected "figures, " "patterns, " or "images." We trace the pattern of the true from the time it was erected by Moses, until it was merged into the larger and more glorious pattern which Solomon caused to be established. We trace this building down to the period when it was overthrown by Nebuchadnezzar, and was suffered to remain in ruins through the Babylonish captivity. And from the time that Zerubbabel rebuilt the sanctuary, we trace the history of the pattern until we reach the true tabernacle, the great sanctuary of Jehovah in Heaven.

We gather our first instruction respecting the sanctuary from the book of Exodus. In chapter 24, we learn that Moses went up into the cloud that enshrouded the God of Israel, upon Mount Sinai, and that he was there forty days. It was during this period that the building of the sanctuary was explained to Moses, and the pattern of it shown to him in the mount. Heb.8:5. The next chapter commences with the commandment to erect the sanctuary; "And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. According to all that I show thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it." Ex.24:8, 9.

We have learned several important facts:
(1) The sanctuary was the habitation of God. It was erected for this express purpose, that God might dwell among his people. And Moses had his eye upon this habitation, or sanctuary, in that very chapter in which he is supposed by some to teach that the land of Canaan is the sanctuary.

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"He is my God, " says Moses, "and I will prepare him a habitation." Chap. 15:2. It is plain that even Moses understood the difference between the habitation of Jehovah and the place of its location.
(2) The sanctuary which God commanded Moses to erect, was the tabernacle. The tabernacle of witness was the sanctuary of God.
(3) Moses was solemnly enjoined to make the sanctuary and all its vessels according to the pattern showed him in that place. Hence, we are now to have a model of the habitation of God set before us.

In the plan of the sanctuary, its walls on the north, the west, and the south side, were formed of upright boards set in sockets of silver. Five bars, running the length of the sides, and passing through rings in the boards, joined them all together. And the whole was overlaid with gold. The sanctuary was covered with four different coverings. The east end was closed by a vail, or hanging, called the door of the tent, or tabernacle. A second vail divided the tabernacle into two parts, called the holy place, and the holiest of all. Chap. 26:1-29, 31-37; 36:8-38; Lev.16:2; Heb.9:3.

The vessels of the sanctuary were all made after the pattern which the Lord showed to Moses. Ex. 25:9,40.

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They were as follows:
(1) The ark....containing God's testament, the ten commandments.(Ex. 25:9-16,21;31:18;32:15;37:1-5; Deut. 10:1-5; 1 Kings 8:9; 2Chron.5:10; Heb 9:4.
(2) The mercy-seat.....
(3) The altar of incense....
(4) The golden censer....
(5) The candlestick...
(6) The table of show-bread...
(7) The altar of burnt-offering. ...
(8) The laver....

Moses erected the sanctuay. He reared up the tabernacle and set up its boards in the sockets of silver and united them together by the bars and spread over the whole, the covering of the tabernacle.
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Ex. 40:17-21. He then hung up the veil in front of the ark, and thus divided between the holy places. Vs 21;26:33; He placed the table without the veil on the north side of the holy place and set the bread in order upon it. Verses 22 and 23. He then placed the candlestick on the south side of the holy place and lighted its lamps before the Lord. Verses 24 and 25. He placed the golden altar before the veil in the holy place, and burned seet incense upon it. Verses 26 and 27. He set up the hanging for the door of the sanctuary, and placed the altar of burnt-offering at the door, and set the laver between the tabernacle and this altar; and around the whole, he set up the court of the tabernacle. Verses 28-33. The sanctuary erected for the habitation of Jehovah, Ex.15:2;25:8, is now ready to receive the King eternal.

"Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle." Verses 34 and 35. We have now found the habitation, or sanctuary, of the Lord. In the book of Exodus, Moses calls this building the sanctuary at least eleven times.

But do you ask for the testimony of the New Testament on this point? Then listen to Paul's view of the sanctuary of the first covenant: "Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary. For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the show-bread; which is called the sanctuary.
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And after the second vail, the tabernacle which is called the holiest of all; which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron's rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant; and over it the cherubim of glory, shadowing the mercy-seat." Heb.9:1-5; 13:11. It is settled, therefore, that we have the right view of this subject thus far, and that the tabernacle of God, and not the land of Canaan, was the sanctuary.

The worldly sanctuary was the pattern of the true. "After the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it." "And look that thou make them after their pattern, which was showed thee in the mount." Ex.25:9, 40. "And thou shalt rear up the tabernacle according to the fashion thereof which was showed thee in the mount." Chap.26:30. "As it was showed thee in the mount, so shall they make it." Chap.27:8. "According unto the pattern which the Lord had showed Moses, so he made the candlestick." Num.8:4. "Our fathers had the tabernacle of witness in the wilderness, as he had appointed, speaking unto Moses, that he should make it according to the fashion that he had seen." Acts 7:44. "Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle; for, See (saith he) that thou make all things according to the pattern showed to thee in the mount." Heb.8:5.
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"It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the Heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true." Heb.9:23, 24.

From these texts we learn two important facts:
1. We are many times certified that the tabernacle of witness was made according to the pattern which God showed to Moses.
2. That that pattern was a representation of the heavenly sanctuary itself. Heb.8:2.

From Acts 7:45, we learn that the tribes of Israel carried the sanctuary with them into the promised land. In the book of Joshua it is called the house of God, or tabernacle; and we learn that it was set up at Shiloh. Josh.9:23; 18:1; 19:51; Jer.7:12. It is called "the Lord's tabernacle." Josh.22:19. It is called "the sanctuary of the Lord." Chap.24:26. In the book of Judges it is simply called "the house of God, " located at Shiloh. Judges 18:31; 20:18, 26, 31; 21:2. In 1 Samuel it is termed the "house of the Lord." Chap.1:7, 24; 3:15. In chapters 1:9; 3:3, it is called "the temple of the Lord." In chapter 2:29, God calls it "my habitation, " or tabernacle, margin. It still abode in Shiloh. Chap.4:4.

We now pass from the shadow to the substance. The typical sanctuary gave place to the true.

1. The sanctuary of the first covenant ends with that covenant, and does not constitute the sanctuary of the new covenant. Heb.9:1, 2, 8, 9; Acts 7:48, 49.

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2. That sanctuary was a figure for the time then present, or for that dispensation. Heb.9:9. That is, God did not, during the typical dispensation, lay open the true tabernacle; but gave to the people a figure or pattern of it.

3. When the work of the first tabernacle was accomplished, the way of the temple of God in Heaven was laid open. Heb.9:8; Ps.11:4; Jer.17:12.

4. The typical sanctuary and the carnal ordinances connected with it were to last only till the time of reformation. And when that time arrived, Christ came, an high priest of good things to come by a greater and more perfect tabernacle. Heb.9:9-12.

5. The rending of the vail of the earthly sanctuary at the death of our Saviour, evinced that its services were finished. Matt.27:50, 51; Mark 15:38; Luke 23:45.

6. Christ solemnly declared that it was left desolate. Matt.23:37, 38; Luke 13:34, 35.

7. The sanctuary is connected with the host. Dan.8:13. And the host, which is the true church, has had neither sanctuary nor priesthood in old Jerusalem the past 1800 years, but has had both in Heaven. Heb.8:1-6.

8. While the typical sanctuary was standing, it was evidence that the way into the true sanctuary was not laid open. But when its services were abolished, the tabernacle in Heaven, of which it was a figure, took its place. Heb.10:1-9; 9:6-12.

9. The holy places made with hands, the figures or patterns of things in the Heavens, have been superseded by the heavenly holy places themselves. Heb.9:23, 24.

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10. The sanctuary, since the commencement of Christ's priesthood, is the true tabernacle of God in Heaven. This is plainly stated in Heb.8:1-6. These points are conclusive evidence that the wordly sanctuary of the first covenant has given place to the heavenly sanctuary of the new covenant. The typical sanctuary is forsaken, and the priesthood is transferred to the true tabernacle.

But the most important question in the mind of the reader is this: How did Gabriel explain the sanctuary to Daniel? Did he not point out to him the transition from the "figure" or "pattern, " to the "greater and more perfect tabernacle, " the true holy places? We answer, He did.

1. Gabriel explained to Daniel what portion of the 2300 days belonged to Jerusalem and the Jews: "Seventy weeks have been cut off upon thy people, and upon thy holy city." - Whiting's Translation. Dan.9:24. Then the whole of the 2300 days does not belong to old Jerusalem, the place of the earthly sanctuary, nor do they all belong to the Jews, the professed people of God in the time of the first covenant.

2. For in that period of seventy weeks, the transgression was to be finished; that is, the Jewish people were to fill up their measure of iniquity, by rejecting and crucifying the Messiah, and were no longer to be his people, or host. Dan.9:24; Matt.23:32, 33; 21:33-43; 27:25.

3. Gabriel showed Daniel that the earthly sanctuary would be destroyed shortly after their rejection of the Messiah, and never be rebuilt, but be desolate till the consummation. Dan.9:26, 27.

4. The angel brings the new covenant to Daniel's view. "He [the Messiah] shall confirm the covenant with many for one week." Dan.9:27; Matt.26:28.

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5. He brings to Daniel's view the new-covenant church, or host; viz., the "many" with whom the covenant is confirmed. Verse 27.

6. He brings to view the new-covenant sacrifice; viz., the cutting off of the Messiah, but not for himself, verse 26; and also the Prince, or Mediator, of the new covenant. Verse 25; 11:22; Heb.12:24. He brings to Daniel's view the new-covenant sanctuary, and informs him that before the close of the seventy weeks, which belong to the earthly sanctuary, the most holy shall be anointed. That this "most holy" is the true tabernacle in which the Messiah is to officiate as priest, we offer the following testimony: "`And to anoint the most holy:' kodesh kodashim, the holy of holies." - Adam Clarke. Dan.9:24.

"Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people, and the city of thy sanctuary that sin may be restrained, and transgression have an end; that iniquity may be expiated, and an everlasting righteousness brought in; that visions and prophecies may be sealed up, and the holy of holies anointed." -Houbigant's Trans. Dan.9:24.

The fact is plain that of the vision of 2300 days concerning the sanctuary, only 490 pertained to the earthly sanctuary; and also that the iniquity of the Jewish people would, in that period, be so far filled up that God would leave them, and the city and sanctuary would soon after be destroyed, and never be rebuilt, but be left in ruins till the consummation. And it is also a fact that Gabriel did present to Daniel a view of the true tabernacle, Heb.8:1, 2, which, about the close of the seventy weeks, did take the place of the pattern.

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And as the ministration of the earthly tabernacle began with its anointing, so in the more excellent ministry of our great High Priest, the first act, as shown to Daniel, is the anointing of the true tabernacle or sanctuary, of which he is a minister. Ex.40:9-11; Lev.8:10, 11; Num.7:1; Dan.9:24.

It is, therefore, an established fact that the worldly sanctuary of the first covenant, and the heavenly sanctuary of the new covenant, are both embraced in the vision of the 2300 days. Seventy weeks are cut off upon the earthly sanctuary; and at their termination, the true tabernacle, with its anointing, its sacrifice, and its Minister, is introduced. And it is interesting to notice that the transfer from the tabernacle made with hands, to the true tabernacle itself, which the Lord pitched, and not man, is placed by Gabriel at the very point where the Bible testifies that the shadow of good things to come ceased, being nailed to the cross, Col.2:14, 17; where the offering of bulls and goats gave place to the great Sacrifice, Heb.9:11-14; 10:1-10; Ps.40:6-8: Dan.9:27; where the Levitical priesthood was superseded by that of the order of Melchisedec, Hebrews, chapters 5-7; Ps.110; where the example and shadow of heavenly things was terminated by the more excellent ministry which it shadowed forth, Heb.8:1-6; and where the holy places which were the figures of the true, were succeeded by the true holy places in Heaven. Heb.9:23, 24. We have seen that Gabriel did not explain the 2300 days and the sanctuary in Dan.8. We now see that in Dan.9 he explained both.


"Now of the things which we have spoken, this is the sum: We have such an High Priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the Heavens; a minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man." Heb.8:1, 2. "A glorious high throne from the beginning is the place of our sanctuary." Jer.17:12; Rev.16:17; Ps.11:4. "For he hath looked down from the height of his sanctuary; from Heaven did the Lord behold the earth." Ps.102:19.

The heavenly sanctuary has two holy places. The following testimony on this point is conclusive. We gather it from the Old and New Testaments, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.

1. The tabernacle erected by Moses, after a forty-days' inspection of the one showed to him in the mount, consisted of two holy places, Ex.26:30-33, and is declared to be a correct pattern, or model, of that building. Ex.25:8, 9, 40, compared with chapter 39:32-43. But if the earthly sanctuary consisted of two holy places, and the great original, from which it was copied, consisted of only one, instead of likeness there would be perfect dissimilarity.

2. The temple was built in every respect according to the pattern which God gave to David by the Spirit. 1 Chron.28:10-19. And Solomon, in addressing God, says, "Thou hast commanded me to build a temple upon thy holy mount, and an altar in the city wherein thou dwellest, a resemblance of the holy tabernacle which thou hast prepared from the beginning." Wis. Sol.9:8.
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The temple was built on a larger and grander scale then the tabernacle; but its distinguishing feature, like that of the tabernacle, consisted in the fact that it was composed of two holy places. 1 Kings 6; 2 Chron.3. This is clear proof that the heavenly tabernacle contains the same.

3. Paul plainly states that "the holy places [plural] made with hands" "are the figures [plural] of the true;" and that the tabernacle and its vessels are "patterns of things in the Heavens." Heb.9:23, 24. This is direct evidence that, in the greater and more perfect tabernacle, there are two holy places, even as in the figure, example, or pattern.

4. The apostle actually uses the word holies (plural) in speaking of the heavenly sanctuary. The expression, "holiest of all, " in Heb.9:8; 10:19, has been supposed by some to prove that Christ began to minister in the most holy place, at his ascension. But the expression is not "hagia hagion, " holy of holies, as in chapter 9:3; but is simply "hagion, " holies. It is the same word that is rendered sanctuary in Heb.8:2 In each of these three texts, Heb.8:2; 9:8; 10:19, Macknight renders the word "holy places." The Douay Bible renders it "the holies." And thus we learn that the heavenly sanctuary consists of two "holy places."

We have noticed particularly the vessels of the earthly sanctuary, and have cited divine testimony to show that they were patterns of the true in Heaven. This is strikingly confirmed by the fact that in the heavenly sanctuary we find the like vessels:
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(1) The ark of God's testament, and the cherubim. Rev.11:19; Ps.99:1.
(2) The golden altar of incense. Rev.8:3; 9:13.
(3) The candlestick with the seven lamps. Rev.4:5; Zech.4:2.
(4) The golden censer. Rev.8:3. This heavenly sanctuary is called by David, Habakkuk, and John, "the temple of God in Heaven, " Ps.11:4; Hab.2:20; Rev.11:19; Rev.16:17; "God's holy habitation, " Zech.2:13; Jer.25:30; "greater and more perfect tabernacle, " Heb.9:11; "the sanctuary and true tabernacle which the Lord pitched, and not man, " Heb.8:2.

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Continue James White's Article on the Sanctuary, It's Ministration and Cleansing
James White on "Why the Disappointment"
James White on "The Judgment"

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